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SOPA Not Shelved After White House Petition Response

By - Source: The White House | B 60 comments

The White House has responded to petitions complaining about SOPA and Protect IP, a response that could lead to their demise.

The U.S. online piracy bill causing waves across the Internet may either receive a complete rewrite, or be tossed in the trash thanks to a White House response to several petitions over the weekend.

Just last week the legislation, known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, saw proposed revisions by Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Lamar Smith that would see the Domain Name System (DNS) blocking provision removed from the impending bill. But now there are talks that the revisions will need to go much deeper than previously realized (aka replacement language) if Congressional staffers don't want to receive a veto by the White House. There's a possibility that they may even need to create an entirely new bill instead.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," the Obama Administration said in a public statement.

The White House stated that the proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS). Before the proposed revisions on Friday, there were fears that users would seek out foreign DNS servers to access blacklisted sites -- a splintering of the internet's architecture, so to speak. Even the White House saw a problem, stating that "analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online."

"New legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity," the White House stated. "Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing."

News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch didn't appear happy about the White House response on Monday, saying that "Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery." He also seemingly blames Google for piracy, claiming the search engine giant "streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder [we're] pouring millions into lobbying."

The debate over the proposed bill is expected to intensify over the next few weeks. The White House said the organizer behind the We The People petition and a random sample of the signers will be invited to a conference call to discuss the issue further with Administration officials. After that, the White House will host an online event to get more input and answer questions about the bill.

Saturday's White House response was written by Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff. The full response can be read here.

UPDATE: SOPA has been shelved for now.

UPDATE 2: Ok, maybe not. "House Judiciary CommitteeChairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February," reports the House of Representatives.

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Top Comments
  • 32 Hide
    Nakal , January 17, 2012 5:04 PM
    I am no big fan of Obama or his administration, but .. thumbs up to him/them for this!

  • 22 Hide
    southernshark , January 17, 2012 5:12 PM
    You know the Patriot Act was introduced under a different name in the 90s. It was shot down. In 2001 they changed the name of it to Patriot Act and everyone voted for it. SOPA will be the same way. It will be adopted by the USA eventually. It will be called something else, but it will be the same thing. The US hates liberty, but loves lawyers, laws and cops.
  • 21 Hide
    danraies , January 17, 2012 5:45 PM
    "Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes."

    Are you an idiot? This is the problem - people think that anti-SOPA/PIPA equals pro-pirating when it doesn't. Show me a bill that protects copyrights without infringing on basic civil liberties and I'll support it. The legislation in their current forms do not stop piracy in any way (they don't even slow it down) but they do manage to violate several civil liberties, the most obvious of which is due process.
Other Comments
    Display all 60 comments.
  • 32 Hide
    Nakal , January 17, 2012 5:04 PM
    I am no big fan of Obama or his administration, but .. thumbs up to him/them for this!

  • 20 Hide
    captaincharisma , January 17, 2012 5:06 PM
    big thumbs up for this move
  • 18 Hide
    house70 , January 17, 2012 5:06 PM
    Sounds reasonable, however there is a long history of people getting the backdoor shaft from politicians. They are just waiting for a little better political climate to push this, but they will not let off of it.
    If anyone here trusts what the politicians say, please thumb me down.
  • 0 Hide
    digitalzom-b , January 17, 2012 5:12 PM
    Yay!
  • 22 Hide
    southernshark , January 17, 2012 5:12 PM
    You know the Patriot Act was introduced under a different name in the 90s. It was shot down. In 2001 they changed the name of it to Patriot Act and everyone voted for it. SOPA will be the same way. It will be adopted by the USA eventually. It will be called something else, but it will be the same thing. The US hates liberty, but loves lawyers, laws and cops.
  • 10 Hide
    digitalzom-b , January 17, 2012 5:13 PM
    obiown77These are just Obama political tactics..... but I think more people will see through it this year, but enough people? who knows.......


    But if a republican did it, then it would be a step in the right direction, a just cause, and the right move... not just "political tactics."
  • -1 Hide
    Brett928S2 , January 17, 2012 5:15 PM
    Hi :) 

    Hip Hip Hooray :) 

    All the best Brett :) 
  • 1 Hide
    blubbey , January 17, 2012 5:25 PM
    "New legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law"

    Does this mean they're trying to make laws that govern sites other than those in the U.S. or am I mis-interpreting that?
  • -6 Hide
    pizzacheeks , January 17, 2012 5:26 PM
    The only good that will come out of Obama's one term in office

  • 2 Hide
    digitalzom-b , January 17, 2012 5:30 PM
    xx_PEMDAS_XxA republican would not even have to think about it. It would be no surprise. Because Political candidates should follow what they tell people they believe, not lie. I few months ago Obama was anti- Piracy, (against anonymous). Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes. He will pull that black card if he has too.


    You realize this is how ALL politics work right? Been in America long?
  • 10 Hide
    classzero , January 17, 2012 5:31 PM
    These are not the Bills your looking for . . . You may proceed.
  • 4 Hide
    digitalzom-b , January 17, 2012 5:32 PM
    xx_PEMDAS_XxA republican would not even have to think about it. It would be no surprise. Because Political candidates should follow what they tell people they believe, not lie. I few months ago Obama was anti- Piracy, (against anonymous). Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes. He will pull that black card if he has too.


    Also, he's not pro-pirating now, quit making shit up to make your argument stronger:

    "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," the Obama Administration said in a public statement."
  • 1 Hide
    rawful , January 17, 2012 5:35 PM
    Too bad the NDAA passed.
  • 0 Hide
    jahmekan , January 17, 2012 5:38 PM
    Quote:
    xx_PEMDAS_Xx :
    A republican would not even have to think about it. It would be no surprise. Because Political candidates should follow what they tell people they believe, not lie. I few months ago Obama was anti- Piracy, (against anonymous). Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes. He will pull that black card if he has too.


    I think people should look up who is running point on this piece of crap and then come back here and post. One is from the great state of TX.
  • 7 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 17, 2012 5:43 PM
    xx_PEMDAS_Xx... Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes. He will pull that black card if he has too.

    Personally, I do not think that any reasonable person would think that this is what this ruling is saying.

    SOPA / Protect IP had some serious issues. Like the clause that anyone could get a site to take down material. Seems to me the constitution guarantees a right to a fair trial; It would seem to me that giving anyone the power to take down a site just by complaining that the site has copyrighted material violates that right to a fair trail. Nevermind the technical flaws the law had - like redirecting to a foreign DNS which is a completely trivial matter - my bet is that IF SOPA / Protect IP had survived and retained the part that gives anyone the right to take down a site would easily be ruled unconstitutional. Laws enacted by congress are not necessarily constitutional.

    I think there is also indications that the WH would like something like this, however, without the clauses that would allow the internet to be dismantled by any disgruntled entity. You can bet that there would be some "disgruntled nut" who would complain about sites with no other reason other than to wreak havoc. That is where this law had the potential to be a complete failure and be abused.

    Perhaps instead they will make it illegal to download copyrighted material, and empower the NSA to track complaints of such sites and the traffic from them to US citizens so that any US citizen illegally downloading copyrighted material can be caught and sent to prison for the rest of their lives like the denizens of the entertainment industry would like.
  • 21 Hide
    danraies , January 17, 2012 5:45 PM
    "Now hes pro Pirating because he thinks it will get him more votes."

    Are you an idiot? This is the problem - people think that anti-SOPA/PIPA equals pro-pirating when it doesn't. Show me a bill that protects copyrights without infringing on basic civil liberties and I'll support it. The legislation in their current forms do not stop piracy in any way (they don't even slow it down) but they do manage to violate several civil liberties, the most obvious of which is due process.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , January 17, 2012 5:56 PM
    that seems to be how the USA politics work. id obama wants to get anything passed he has to make a bill and be suddenly against it in order to make the kids (republicans) jump on it
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